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OVAG to Introduce 15 Hydrogen Buses in 2025, Partners with Solaris for Sustainable Public Transport

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OVAG Oberbergische Verkehrsgesellschaft, a German public transport operator, has announced plans to put 15 hydrogen buses into operation next year. The vehicles, sourced from Solaris, a Polish manufacturer, will be part of OVAG’s efforts to transition to more sustainable public transport solutions.

The order includes 15 Urbino 12 Hydrogen buses from Solaris, featuring a fuel cell drive with an output of 70 kW, supplemented by a battery for higher power demands. Solaris also offers an articulated bus version, the Urbino 18 Hydrogen, and both variants are available with battery-electric drives.

The delivery of the first five hydrogen buses is scheduled for the beginning of 2025, with the remaining buses expected to be delivered during the first quarter of the same year. Initially, the buses will be refuelled using a mobile refuelling station, with plans to construct and operate a stationary hydrogen refuelling station by 2026. OVAG aims to eventually refuel its entire bus fleet at the Wipperfürth-Hämmern site with hydrogen.

“The Urbino 12 Hydrogen’s range of around 350 kilometres will be very good for most of OVAG’s typical vehicle rotations,” stated OVAG. However, the practical range may be lower due to altitude differences in the Oberberg district. A practical test conducted in 2023 with buses from several manufacturers showed that “the hydrogen buses were particularly impressive when it came to overcoming altitude kilometres and their range,” according to the operator.

OVAG, owned by eleven towns and municipalities in the region east of Cologne, currently operates over 50 bus routes in the Oberberg district with approximately 200 buses. The German Federal Ministry of Transport is subsidising the purchase of the 15 fuel cell buses with 4.3 million euros.

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